You can earn bonus points or miles supporting coronavirus relief efforts

Mar 30, 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic has rattled the world, with flights grounded, borders closed and hundreds of thousands who have fallen ill. From people hand-sewing masks for medical personnel to first responders jumping on planes to combat the virus in New York, we’ve seen some of the best humanity has to offer in recent weeks — and there are ways for you to get involved too.

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While now isn’t the time to travel, there are some options for earning points and miles while supporting COVID-19 relief efforts. If you’ve been wondering how to get involved without getting in the way, we’ve put together some options — and we’ll continually update this post as new ones are brought to light.

In This Post

Donate to the Red Cross to earn bonus miles

American Airlines is partnering with the Red Cross for donations to assist in coronavirus relief. From now until April 30, 2020, donations of $25 or more made at this link will receive 10x AAdvantage miles. American says you’ll see the miles credited to your account 30 to 45 days after donation. Just don’t forget to provide your account information.

We value AAdvantage miles at 1.4 cents each, which means a $1,000 donation will net you 10,000 miles (worth $140). While that’s not much, it can help you reach your next redemption when it’s safe to travel — especially if you’re able to find Web Special pricing.

RELATED: How to redeem American AAdvantage miles

There are several other ways to contribute to the relief effort from home while earning points and miles.

Order from restaurants online

With many people out of work and schools closed due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, New York restaurant Regina’s Grocery is making sandwiches for children at Streetwork Project on New York’s Lower East Side. For a donation of $30 via GrubHub, Regina’s will make 25 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches per order.

Because GrubHub codes as dining, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders earn 3x per dollar spent, while those with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earn 2x points. If you have the American Express® Gold Card, it earns 4x on dining. Even better — you don’t need to live in New York to donate. You can contribute anywhere.

READ MORE: Best credit cards for dining out — and ordering in

You can also contact local charities or first responders to see if they’d take any prepared meals ordered online. Some restaurants are even waiving delivery fees, so you could have food send straight to your desired recipient and collect bonus points or miles in the process — especially if they happen to participate in a dining rewards program.

Purchase groceries to donate to food banks

Image by Parinda Yatha / EyeEm / Getty Images.
Local food banks could be in need of various grocery items. (Photo by Parinda Yatha / EyeEm / Getty Images)

Local food banks also play a crucial support role in the coronavirus response. If you can pick up non-perishable items at the grocery store, this could be a great way to support those less fortunate in your community. Many credit cards offer bonus points or miles at supermarkets, including 4x points on the Amex Gold (on up to $25,000 in yearly purchases, then 1x). Terms apply.

As an alternative, you could wait until Wednesday and swipe your Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants), as the Q2 bonus will take effect then. You can activate this now and then earn 5% cash back (or 5x Ultimate Rewards points if you also have a premium Chase card) for the first $1,500 spent in combined purchases at grocery stores, gyms and fitness clubs through June, giving you a great way to maximize this spending and support the relief efforts.

The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Order key supplies online

I’ve also been poking around in various online shopping portals for elevated bonuses for medical supplies to donate to first responders. Medical professionals around the U.S. have reported shortages for essential products like hand sanitizer and masks and have asked for donations. If you can find these items online, they’d go a long way toward flattening the curve — and earning additional points or miles on the purchases would be the icing on the cake.

READ MORE: Best credit cards for online shopping

Donate Marriott points

While this won’t earn points, it’s still a great way to donate and get involved. Marriott has partnered with disaster relief organizations UNICEF, World Central Kitchen International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Red Cross. Donations between $10 (2,500 Marriott Bonvoy points) and $500 (125,000 Bonvoy points) will help provide supplies, meals and more. You can pick which organization to donate or choose all of them.

Bottom line

The best way to support the medical community and flatten the curve is to stay at home and practice social distancing. But if you’re looking for ways to get involved that don’t require leaving your home — and earn some points in the process — these could be good places to start.

Featured image courtesy of Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
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15.99%-22.99% Variable
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Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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